The Newz Radar
Amid heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh and due to the ongoing work on converting a few existing national highways into four-lane, commuters and tourists are at risk.
Highways have become high-risk ways. The three big national highways Kalka-Shimla, Pathankot-Mandi, and Chandigarh-Manali are prone to man-made landslides and rock sliding due to the ongoing road broadening work.
The Kalka-Shimla four-lane was reduced to a single-lane road recently due to the falling of debris and stones. However, signboards warning commuters and tourists plying on this highway are mostly missing with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), and the company building the four-lane ignoring the danger.
The absence of proper warning signage causes problems for those driving on the highway as they only come to know of the blockage when they reach the spot. Then they have to make a U-turn and find an alternate route.
The stones falling from the hills on the Kalka-Shimla four-lane can be fatal for commuters and tourists. Two car drivers narrowly escaped being hit by debris and stones that fell from the hill on Friday. At 10:05 am, suddenly debris and stones fell on the road from the hillock near Datyar. A rock that fell from the top hit the bonnet of a car going towards Kalka.
Dozens of houses built on the hill near the highway from Parwanoo to Solan are at risk due to the rains, as there is no provision for water drainage here. On the other hand, the pillars of the bridge have been damaged due to the flow of Chakki Khad on Mandi-Pathankot NH, while the safety wall and crate installed for the safety of the bridge were washed away.
Landslides are taking place between six miles and seven miles between Mandi and Pandoh on the Manali-Chandigarh four-lane. NH is being blocked for hours due to landslides in this section.
The movement of trains is also being disrupted due to the constant falling of debris on the Kalka-Shimla rail track. On Friday, two trains in this section reached Kalka railway station late. Most of the debris is falling between Dharampur and Sanwara railway stations.
Meanwhile, rivers, including the Beas and Sutlej, and some streams are in full spate in the state. The government has advised people to travel only after taking stock of the weather. Tourists have been asked to stay away from rivers and nullahs.